Nonlinear optics in the extreme ultraviolet.

Institute for Solid State Physics, University of Tokyo, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa 277-8581, Japan.
Nature (Impact Factor: 42.35). 01/2005; 432(7017):605-8. DOI: 10.1038/nature03108
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Nonlinear responses to an optical field are universal in nature but have been difficult to observe in the extreme ultraviolet (XUV) and soft X-ray regions owing to a lack of coherent intense light sources. High harmonic generation is a well-known nonlinear optical phenomenon and is now drawing much attention in attosecond pulse generation. For the application of high harmonics to nonlinear optics in the XUV and soft X-ray regime, optical pulses should have both large pulse energy and short pulse duration to achieve a high optical electric field. Here we show the generation of intense isolated pulses from a single harmonic (photon energy 27.9 eV) by using a sub-10-femtosecond blue laser pulse, producing a large dipole moment at the relatively low (ninth) harmonic order nonadiabatically. The XUV pulses with pulse durations of 950 attoseconds and 1.3 femtoseconds were characterized by an autocorrelation technique, based on two-photon above-threshold ionization of helium atoms. Because of the small cross-section for above-threshold ionization, such an autocorrelation measurement of XUV pulses with photon energy larger than the ionization energy of helium has not hitherto been demonstrated. The technique can be extended to the characterization of higher harmonics at shorter wavelengths.

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